Dedicated to Hameed Gul and Nadeem Farooq Paracha
By Raza Habib Raja
The political spectrum in our country is polarized between two extremes: patriotic conservatives and the liberals. Both these extremes are often in complete conflict and accuse the other of naivety and even fanaticism. While conspiracy theories of the rightwing are well known, I have seen that liberals are not at all far behind and churn out their own conspiracy theories in which they try to absolve the PPP government of everything under the sun. Following are the “pearls” of wisdom uttered by both sides.
The Patriotic Brigade
1. We are patriots and love our motherland like hell. We are macho and believe in jingoism. Our favorite terms are: Islam; nationalism; traitors; baigharat liberals; strategic location; CIA; Mosad; RAW; corruption; and independent judiciary. Of course those who do not agree with us are traitors or liberal fanatics.
2. Liberalism is an anti patriotic philosophy and has the sole aim of westernization and thus weakening of Pakistan.
3. The entire world is united against Pakistan because we have the nuclear arsenal for “peaceful” purposes. Although critics say that it is a crude copy of Chinese technology (which itself is of low quality) but since our engineers copied it therefore it is our pride. Continue reading
This eloquent piece by Nighat Said Khan*, published by the Friday Times, is a reminder for the bright and ambitious Fatima Bhutto that she should get her politics sorted out before she ventures to settle intra-family scores in the public domain. I have also noted that the upper middle classes of Pakistan have given huge attention to Fatima’s recent invective against her late “Adi”. Fatima is surely a budding literary talent but her politics alas falls short of historical consciousness and betrays a lack of understanding of the nuances of Pakistan’s homegrown struggle for democracy.
In her earnest attempts to say the right thing, Fatima not only negates herself but also reinforces the Pakistani establishment’s long held biases against the murdered Bhuttos. The two Bhuttos – father and daughter – were no saints nor the best of administrators. However, they represented a threat to the status quo as Nighat mentions and thereby personified the struggle for democracy.
If Fatima does not believe in heirs or dynasties then why is her immediate family doing political business in the name of late Murtaza Bhutto. And why above all she plays the Bhutto card with such ease and aplomb.
Perhaps good advice from Fatima, like charity, should begin at home.
Two quotes from this excellent piece deserve attention:
But the detractors, the middle class, urban progressives, intellectuals, academicians, “left” activists and “left” pretenders who add to this, “they didn’t do anything” refrain, are to my mind either unable to understand liberal bourgeois democracy or are unable to see reform for what it is – a slow, laborious, tedious and frustrating process. I don’t expect mainstream politicians to bring revolutions.
And you, Fatima, is not the media and political and social circles focusing on you only because you are a Bhutto? Surely every young Pakistani professional woman is not being interviewed by the London Times and the Guardian? Do you also not play the Bhutto card every time you accept or court celebrity status? Do you not already have an edge that you have not earned?
We are publishing the full text of this letter for those who may not have seen the print version. Continue reading